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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (5) - Nairaland

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The Marked:white Sight_the In Between_a Nigerian Paranormal Fantasy Fiction Book / Ndidi And The Telekinesis Man (A Fantasy Romance Novella By Kayode Odusanya) / Differences Between A Short Story, Novelette, Novella, & A Novel (2) (3) (4)

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by lukfame(m): 7:27am On May 01
Thanks for the update. Good morning and happy new month to you Obehid.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Rynne: 2:05pm On May 01
.....but how can Xavier observe when it has no eyes undecided
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 6:03pm On May 01
Simply mind-blowing craft (novella)
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 4:24pm On May 02
I never thought about what Fajohromo did until Gerangi spelt it out.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 3:02pm On May 03
Nebud is becoming compassionate. This is good. With that he will be a better uspec and wiser even. Nice update � smiley
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by correctguy101(m): 10:27pm On May 03
Bless your soul ObehiD
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:18am On May 04
@lukfame thank you! Happy new month to you too!

@Rynne so, there's special magic that goes into the process when an imp's eyes are removed, and that's why the imps (even with their eyes gone) can see. You may or may not remember this, but the imp that Osezele fought at the end of in between also had its eyes out, but that didn't stop it from seeing her and fighting her. There's more implications of this no eye seeing thing which will permeate a little into the human world in the reckoning, but I'm not going to spoil it wink

@HotB thank you!!!

@tunjilomo yeah, I know Gerangi has a way of...framing things...I'll just leave it as that lol

@Fazemood ...well, I don't know if I'd go as far as saying it's becoming compassionate, more like the young imps bring something out of Nebud... but let me not spoil it for you grin

@correctguy101 thank you grin

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:19am On May 04
Part 15
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The rest of the day passed without another sighting of Xavier. And so I continued my pacing, going back to the fog walls which led to the pious ones’ quarters. But I never went in. I stood by the fog and imagined my offspring standing in front of me, as it had in the hatch, and gazing up at me, with an eye filled with recognition. I allowed myself to be creative and gave my mind permission to run wild. But it did not matter how much I imagined, I could not give it a face. And even though in my mind it called me progenitor, I could not give it a voice.

When I wore myself out, and had become mentally fatigued by the image I tried without much success to create, I went back to my room. I collapsed onto the soft top layer of the bed, and for the first time since I’d been made a warden, I slept throughout the night. It was a dreamless sleep, one that left me feeling more exhausted when I woke, than I had been before I slept. Although it didn’t feel like it when I woke, I could tell from the hours of unconsciousness which had passed, that I had indeed slept. I must not have been in a very deep slumber though, because I woke to the call of my name.

I sat up on my bed and found a novice standing by the entry, with the curtain pulled aside. I recognized the novice as the one who had delivered Fajahromo’s note to me, the note which had set me on the course to creating an offspring that had been taken from me.

“It is time.” The novice said.

For a moment I dwelled in the bliss of ignorance. In those few seconds, I was completely oblivious to the novice’s meaning. My mind was blank, and nothing existed in my head but the thoughts of exhaustion. Then I remembered, and the glass wall covering up my memories shattered and came tumbling down. I stood up from my bed, put on my belt with the baton dangling from it, and followed the novice.

We walked together in silence. The novice’s shoulders were pulled up, and it walked stiffly, as if it was tense. I followed a few steps behind, my attention darting from the possible meanings behind the novice’s gait, to the task that Fajahromo had asked me to perform. It wanted me to kill a Kaiser in the plenum. I still wasn’t completely sure what the plenum was, but as far as I was concerned, killing one uspec was just the same as killing another. If I had to kill this uspec to buy myself more time to get myself and my offspring out of the pits, then the uspec was as good as dead.

The novice walked into the fogs which led to the pious ones’ quarters. As it walked into them, the fogs dissipated, moving away and revealing the open space which led in. I walked in after it, and we moved together to the smaller grey fogs. The novice walked into this one, and it cleared too. My head turned slightly to the left as we walked by the key room, the one that the pious one had brought me to, to have my baton turned into a fog-key. We turned to the right and the novice walked into yet another opaque fog. Like the others, this one drifted away as soon as the novice walked in.

It jutted its head out, inclining its chin towards the right. I turned to the right and saw a large set of thick embroidered dark blue curtains. The curtains had swirls of gold embroidered into the top and bottom fringes, as well as loops of silver in the middle. Form my spot by the open space which the fogs had once occupied, I counted about five distinct sets of curtains. They were all pulled down, so that they completely covered the room hidden behind them, but I could see a slight slit between the furthermost curtain and the end of the doorframe.

“Go to the furthest edge of the room and wait. They have been in there for a while so I suspect the meeting will end soon.” The novice whispered. Its voice shook a little, as if it was terrified of getting caught. I observed the novice briefly, noticing the furtive glances it kept making towards the set of curtains. Its body was inched away from the meeting room, but when it let its eyes dart over to the room, its gaze devoured the curtains as if it was starving for a morsel of the information being shared within.

I nodded to the novice and walked into the room. The novice sighed, and then it cast one last longing look at those curtains, before stepping out of the doorway. As soon as it took a step back, the fogs re-emerged.

I walked further into the hallway and kept going until I got all the way to the end of the room. There was a wall to the end. I stood by the corner, where the wall met the curtains, and waited.

I did not mean to eavesdrop, but once I was standing by the curtains, the voices drifted out towards me and I could do nothing but listen.

“Where is it?” a voice asked.

“In Behooni I hear.” Another replied.

A loud thud reverberated through the room. It sounded as if a fist had been slammed against a table. “Salin sent a dispatch from Lahooni to comb through Behooni. Chuspecip is not in that port. How does it evade us? How!”

“It should not be able to.” This voice sounded thoughtful.

“It has power. While the last brio remains, it will always have power. The only way to kill one of the Chu is to destroy all its lifeforms. The brio hides Chuspecip’s lifeforms. And so, we must find the brio and use it to guide us to the other lifeforms. Then we can destroy all of them and finally put an end to Chuspecip.”

“But how do we find the last brio?”

“That has already been taken care of.”

“Then we leave it in your hands my friend.”

The words were followed by the sounds of chairs been dragged against the floor, and then the shuffling of feet.

I stood as I was, leaning slightly against the wall, as I watched the rustle of curtains, before the middle set of curtains were finally pulled back.

Four identically dressed uspecs walked out. The uspecs were fully garbed. They wore long red coats with collars that began around their necks and ends that flowed all the way down to the ground. The bottom of the coats was thick and blown out, making it impossible to tell the size of the legs buried underneath. The sleeves of the coats extended all the way to the uspecs’ wrists, and they wore tall, bulky, hats, which completely covered their heads. The only parts of the uspecs’ bodies exposed were their faces and their hands. I caught a glimpse of five golden rings worn by each uspec on each of their fingers. But on one finger in each hand there were two rings. The second was cyan. It was the cyan rings which stood out. It formed an odd shape, one much more convoluted than the simple golden bands of the other rings.

Another set of uspecs followed behind the four heavily cloaked ones. These uspecs wore nothing but a fraise around their necks, showing that they were pious ones. They also had the cyan rings on their fingers. I could tell from the features on the pious ones’ bodies that they were all from different spectrums, and every single spectrum was represented. Then the procession of uspecs out of the room ended with three uspecs who wore lighter coats. These coats were cut at the elbow, exposing green arms, decorated with five golden bands on each arm. The bands reminded me of the ones that Fajahromo had had on the day we met. But Fajahromo had only had three bands on, these uspecs had five. The coats they wore were like smaller versions of the heavily dressed uspecs in the font. These coats were fitted enough to guess at the size of the uspecs who wore them.

I watched the curtain flap close after the last uspec walked out of the room, then I waited for the procession of uspecs to walk out through the fog walls which had led me into the hallway. It wasn’t till I was sure that they had all left that I pushed the curtain closest to me aside, and walked into the room.

My feet met with a cool, hard ground.

My mouth hung open in shock as I stared at the ground underneath my feet. I had never seen anything like it. The floor was tiled with a hard material which was clear on the surface, and seemed to have white flakes suspended within it. I stared at the ground, and it was as if I was staring at the hail which I had seen in the hatch. The ground was even cool, as if passing on the coldness of the white pellets. It was the most beautiful flooring that I had ever seen. Although, it did not have the comfort of the soft ground which formed like foam underneath my feet, it had a type of sturdy beauty which I could not fault.

I heard a throat clear.

My head snapped up and I found two uspecs standing and staring at me. One was dressed as the other uspecs who’d walked out first had been. This uspec had on large bulky clothing which hid the rest of its body from view, and made it impossible to guess at its size, but its face was exposed. It had all of its outer eyes filled, and each one of those eyes, stared at me. The other uspec was familiar. It was the pious one who had led me to the hatch.

I remembered Fajahromo’s words from the previous day and realized that the fully garbed uspec was the one it wanted me to kill. This uspec was the Kaiser in the plenum. I looked at its eyes, and a hard layer formed in the pit of my stomach. The uspec had all of its eyes filled, which meant that it had all of the understandings of the different spectrums. It had the full range of spectra.

The pious one spoke to the Kaiser in a different tongue and when the Kaiser nodded, the pious one left. It did not even look at me as it walked by.

I heard the curtains close behind me, and I was suddenly tempted to laugh. What game was Fajahromo playing? It had to know that I could not kill an uspec with spectra, so why would it send me to do that, unless it wanted me dead? But if Gerangi was right, then Fajahromo wanted me to die in the hatch, when my death could lead to the birth of another irira, one who was kun as I and my offspring were. I tried to think of Fajahromo’s motives and what it expected of me, but I could not come up with a single thing. I did not know what it wanted.

The Kaiser watched me with a straight face. In all my rambling thoughts, it took me a while to realize that I was in the presence of a Kaiser, a Kaiser, the ruler of a spectral port.

I bent to my knee, and bowed my head, saying, “I greet you mighty one.” And as the words left my mouth, I knew what I had to do.

The Kaiser walked towards me and stopped when it was close enough that I could see the end of its long robe in my field of view.

“Rise.” It commanded. “I hear you have a message for me?” it prompted.

I stayed on my knee. “I am not worthy, mighty one,” I began, remembering a story I had once been told by a passing trader. My lips twitched as I thought of how apt that story was for this scenario. “I fear, for I must trouble you with my words.”

“Do not fear.” The Kaiser said. “If your words are indeed troubling then I must be troubled, for I would rather be troubled by words than by deeds.” The Kaiser’s response was almost an exact replica of the ones I remembered from the story. Maybe the Kaiser had been told the story too?

I rose my head then, raising my gaze to meet the Kaiser’s. I smiled in my childlike excitement of enacting a story I had been told as a young. As my eye met the Kaiser’s face, I expected an answering smile to cross its lips, but I was disappointed when its face remained stoic. I recalled what I had to say, and the smile left my face too. “I have been sent to kill you.” I confessed.

The Kaiser studied me then. Its eyes took their time climbing from the top of my head to the knee which rested on the ground. Then its gaze swept back upwards, pausing for a breath to linger on the cloth I had on my neck. Before I could come to the conclusion that it suspected I was irira, its gaze rose back up.

“By whom?” it said finally.

“My patron, mighty one, the grand, Fajahromo, sovereign of the first burg in the second metropolis of Hakute.” I remembered that it had other titles, but I could not remember exactly what they were.

“The offspring of Fajahr?” it asked.

I nodded. “Yes, mighty one.”

It gestured with its hands for me to rise. I stood and found that we were both of the same height.

“And are you bound to your patron?” it asked.

“No mighty one.”

Its face remained stoic, but I could sense a softening in its eyes. “Perhaps you can perform a duty for me instead. I will pay you well for it, and see you rise out of the pits. And if you are willing, I will find a position for you in my guard. I am always looking for capable uspecs.”

I could not believe it. Just like that, in one move, all my worries had been solved. I would be out of the pits and away from Fajahromo. “It would be an honor to serve you mighty one.” I replied.

“Good. Kill your patron.”

I froze.

The Kaiser frowned. “Would that be a problem?”

I cleared my throat. “It has spectra mighty one.” I stated. “I do not.”

The Kaiser nodded quickly as if that wasn’t a problem at all. “I will send a representative, one with far more experience with spectra. It will use its own spectra to divert Fajahromo’s. Does that satisfy you?”

I was speechless. Was it possible? Could my problems with Fajahromo be so easily resolved? “Yes, mighty one.” I nodded excitedly, a slow, smile beginning to form on my lips. “Yes, it does. Very much so. I thank you mighty one.” I went on my knee again and bowed.

“I will have you sent for when it is time.” It said, then it walked out of the room.

For a while I just remained as I had been, kneeling on one knee and staring at the beautiful ground. I had never considered myself to be lucky. But in this one moment of my life, it was as if fortune had taken me into its arms. I wanted to jump to my feet and jubilate. I wanted to run around, sharing my good news with the world. Fajarhomo would be dead. With its spectra diverted, I knew it would stand no chance against me. With my skill and emotions, I would have the upper hand. I would kill it and I would finally be reunited with my offspring.

There was only one person I could think of sharing this great news with, and so I left the pious ones’ quarters, only hesitating a little when I walked by the fog wall I knew led to the hatch and the room my offspring lived in. Soon, I promised it in my head, soon I will come for you. I walked out of the quarters and headed straight for Gerangi’s cell.

When I got there, I put my baton into the fog which covered the entry, and walked in.

Gerangi was sitting on the bed. It had its hands gripping its knees and its head up. Its eye was closed, the eyelid pressed tightly shut, as if in serious concentration. There was something odd about the way it sat still with its eye closed. I had never seen anyone take this position before and so I simply stared at it, wondering what it was doing. I was so caught up in my perusal of it, that I almost missed its eye opening.

It saw me and froze, its face filled with shock. Then the corners of its lips tilted up, as it smiled. But it was a mocking smile. I did not know what caused it, but I could tell that my presence in the room had somehow annoyed Gerangi, even though it did not make its complaints known. It remained silent instead, and the silence grew into a tension that wore on my mind.

“I have good news.” I said, eager to ease the tension.

Gerangi’s eyebrow lifted, but it did not say any more. I was made even more aware of my blunder by its silent gestures. Was it entering the room? Had I offended it by standing there without making myself known? It had been a common thing for one uspec to enter another’s hovel unannounced in my slum. It was not as if uspecs required privacy.

“I have found a way to kill Fajahromo.” I stated dryly.

That caught Gerangi’s attention. “How?”

“Fajahromo wanted me to kill a Kaiser in the plenum…”

Gerangi jumped off its bed. “The plenum?” it asked. I frowned, nodding, as I wondered at its strange response. It covered the distance separating us in seconds. Then it stood so close to me, that I had to tilt my head down to see its face. It stared up at me, and its eye perused my face as if studying me for the first time. “You’ve met the plenum?” it asked.

I understood the strangeness of this conversation. I understood that there was something happening in Gerangi’s mind, something important which I just did not know enough to guess at. I understood this from the dazed way Gerangi stared at me. But since I could not decipher the meaning in its gestures, I had no recourse but to respond honestly. I shook my head. “I saw some of them, but I only met one.”

“You met one.” Gerangi mumbled the words to itself. “You met the plenum.” It stated and I could tell that it was no longer speaking to me. “You met the plenum and I am here.” It scoffed, and then its eyes met mine. It held my gaze for a long time, and then it looked away.

It squared its shoulders and then it muttered words underneath its breath. I frowned as my confusion only continued to grow. Why was Gerangi having such an extreme reaction to my meeting the plenum? What was I missing? The questions continued to plague me until Gerangi touched me.

The touch was brief. It only lasted the amount of time it took me to inhale, but something happened. I could not say exactly what had happened when Gerangi touched me, or why I was so certain that something had happened, but I knew. Suspicions began to cloud my mind as I doubted Gerangi’s purpose for the first time since I came to it after I was released from the cell. But I could not hold on to my suspicions for long, because as soon as Gerangi’s hand left me, it collapsed onto the sludge ground of its cell.

It was still conscious, its eye still open as it stared up at me. I bent and picked the uspec up. Then I carried it to its bed and lay it gently on the hard surface. I noticed that it could do very little but pull in shaky breaths and stare up at me. But then it smiled, a smile of pure joy, that had me answering with a smile of my own, even though I did not know the root of its smile. Then I watched the fingers in its right hand struggle to lift, but when they did rise, they flickered towards the fog in the entrance to the cell. Then Gerangi turned away from me, and I knew it wanted to be left alone. So, I backed away from it, and walked out of the cell.

“Irira.” A voice called out from behind me.

I swerved, turning around sharply.

I saw the coat first. My gaze rose from the bottom of the now familiar expensive coat, to the garments worn underneath and then slowly, to the imp’s face.

“Xavier.” I said in reply, and in that moment, I wasn’t sure if what I felt was relief masked as rage, or anger under the guise of joy. This imp had made me wait a long time to see it, too long, I thought as I stared coldly at it.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 3:40pm On May 04
No wonder the pious ones talk about Chuspecip without any real reverence to it. Maybe he is just a really mighty uspec, but I suspect there is more to it than that.
And why Obehid, do you make this story all the more intriguing, page by page? In fact, just all your stories are.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 9:23pm On May 04
One beautiful thing I like about Nebud I it ability to observe every tiny details of his surroundings. It may be illiterate but it's apt sense of observation and photographic memory is applauding.

I hope it's action leads to his success. Fajarhemor is very clever and cunning. It must have calculate the odds of having Nebud go on this assignment knowing fully well the effects of birthing another uspecs, how emotionally attached the progenitor is to its Creation. Fajarhemor isnt a careless one, i believe it has other plans just incase this one fails.


Obehid, i just want to ask. Are you married? Because i am inlove with your brains. That literally means you wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 2:55pm On May 06
Which kind politics b dis, so so scared for nehbud. Nice one obehid
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:49am On May 08
@tunjilomo you are definitely touching on something there. Lol, thank you, I'm happy you're finding this intriguing

@Fazemood hahaha! Yeah, Fajahromo is very cunning, but maybe the mighty Kaiser plenum is also cunning, lol!

@spixytinxy politics indeed...let's all wish Nebud the best!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:50am On May 08
Part 16
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Xavier stood with its hands behind its back. I took a threatening step towards it, but the imp did not move. Its eyelids did not flutter with fear, its lips did not part to let out a shaky breath. It simply remained as it had been, standing with its hands behind it, as its empty sockets stayed riveted on me. I came to the conclusion that it did not fear me. I wasn’t sure yet if that was a sign of wisdom on the imp’s part, or stupidity.

“Irira,” the imp called out, “I hear you have been looking for me.”

My jaw clenched. “You do not call me irira.” I spat out.

“Then give me a name you prefer,” it stated calmly.

I glared at this imp. I took another step towards it, and the imp remained as it was. It was either unaware of the threat I posed, or it was simply indifferent to it. I could not fathom an imp foolish enough to not fear me.

“You know what name.” I snapped.

Xavier smiled. “If you expect me to call you domina, then you will be sorely disappointed. I am not a slave, I call no one master.”

My response was involuntary. I swiped out with my right hand, but the imp simply dodged the blow, moving in the graceful manner the imps’ who’d killed the wardens had. I reached out with both hands for the imp’s neck, but before my hands could grab it, the sludge ground underneath the imp turned to quicksand and it disappeared, sucked into the ground.

I stared at the ground which had returned to sludge. My mouth hung open as I watched it, and as the moments passed, I feared that it would not return. There was a part of me that loathed the imp even more for the power it bore and the desperate need I had for that power. It sickened me that I would have to wait on an imp’s pleasure. It sickened and enraged me. Then I decided to find another way to open the cells. Maybe I could intimidate a pious one, or better still, one of the novices. Then I remembered their outer eyes. They all had spectra. I was beginning to despise the hampering effect of that form of spectral magic.

“If I leave again, I will not return. Think on that before you decide to make any more threats to me. I have done you no harm, but that can very easily change.” I heard the imp’s words coming from behind me, and the rage that filled me was instant. I could not control it. I turned around and lunged towards it.

The imp sidestepped, moving so quickly to the side, that my attempts to grab it appeared ludicrous. I turned and tried to reach it again, but this time the imp bent, moving underneath my outstretched arm. As it passed underneath me, I felt its hand brush against my skin, and as soon as it touched me, I froze. I became completely immobile, as if I had been paralyzed.

The imp walked over and stood in front of me. My rage burned now till it was brimming, but without being able to move, there was nothing I could do, but keep the anger alive. The imp pulled out a blade from its coat pocket and held it in the air between us. As a fighter, my instincts to seeing a weapon was to avoid it. But I could not move. The realization that I was completely at this imp’s mercy left a foul taste in my mouth. The imp’s blade came closer to my neck. The imp moved towards me with a blank expression on its face. There was no gloating, no mocking tilt of its lips. Its mouth remained straight, and its face appeared stoic. There was something about the calm, matter-of-fact, way in which it approached taking my life that had me seeing this imp as a warrior and not a slave. The thought of a warrior bringing a blade to my neck shot fear up my spine, and the fear washed the anger away.

Then the imp pulled the blade back, as if it had acted in the manner it had, specifically to evoke the change of emotions in me. I was suddenly stunned by this imp.

“Imagine spending your life as a slave, Irira. I was a slave in my umani life, a warrior like you, but a slave. I was born a slave and raised a slave, with no will but that which belonged to my master. One lifetime of slavery was one too many. When I woke and found myself in the spectral existence, I swore that I would serve no other. I call no one master.” It paused, then it spoke softly. “I can kill you Irira, or I can simply leave you as you were.” Its head moved slightly to the left, so that its empty sockets were directly in my line of view, giving the impression that it was staring me in the eye. “Or I can find out why you were looking for me. Think on it, and if you decide that you can speak with an imp that is not a slave, look down.”

Without my anger I could think clearly. And in that clearness of mind, one thing was plain, I hated this imp. But it was powerful, that much was clear. This imp had more power than I had ever seen an uspec wield. I did not know how an imp could possess so much of our magic without being a slave. An imp’s magic was supposed to be siphoned, which meant that an imp could not have magic unless it siphoned it from its master. How had this imp become an exception? I thought of Gerangi in its cell and my offspring in its, and my choice was obvious. I looked down.

The imp did not smile. It simply put its hand on my outstretched arm. When its hand left me, my mobility returned. I stood to my full height and then I stared at the imp. It stared back at me, and we both waited.

“What are you?” I spat the words out through clenched teeth, not making any attempts to hide my disdain for it.

“Xavier.” It stated simply.

“How did you paralyze me?”

The imp’s lips pursed as if it was in thought, and then it relaxed its lips. “Pansophy. The magic of all things except some.” It smiled then, and I realized belatedly that its tone had been a humorous one. “I took your motion and sent it somewhere else.”

“How?” I demanded. I could hear alarm bells going off in my head. There was something not adding up, but I could not quite figure out exactly what it was. I just had a feeling that this imp saying it had pansophy seemed somehow significant.

The imp’s lips parted, and its mouth opened. Then it closed its mouth and its brows furrowed. “Is this why you asked of me then?” It asked. “For a lesson in pansophy?”

I had to exhale deeply to keep the anger from taking root in me again. I shook my head. “I need you to release a friend.”

“Gerangi?” it asked, tipping its head towards the fog cell.

My jaw clenched at the casual way in which it mentioned a pious one’s name. But I controlled the anger and simply nodded.

“If I do that, then I would be going against our patron’s wishes.”

I stared in shock at the imp. Surely it did not mean to imply that Fajahromo was its patron. An uspec taking an imp as a patron would be an act of legitimization, as if the uspec recognized the imp’s right to be free and act of its own accord.

“Yes, it said,” a soft smile teasing its lips, “Fajahromo is my patron too.” It put its hands back behind its back and said, “There are different types of uspecs. There are those such as yourself who have very little understanding of the true abilities of an imp, and so treat all imps the same, with very little regard. On the other hand, there are those who understand the true value of imps and treat us with respect. Then there are the ones who fall in the middle, the ones who see our value and choose to own it. Fajahromo falls into the latter category. I know you were present during the fighting, when the imps killed the wardens. All of those imps belonged to Fajahromo. It did not just buy imps who could fight. No, Fajahromo has too much foresight for that. It bought imps with connections, imps with loved ones, families that it could hold hostage, and then separated them. One set was trained to fight, and the other set was kept as housebound slaves. That way, every fighting imp has a relative that Fajahromo can hurt if the fighter disobeys.”

I heard the tactic Fajahromo had employed with the imps and realized that it had used a similar tactic on me. I wondered what that said of how highly it thought of me, if it had to own me the way it did imps, all the while it called me friend. But it would die, I thought with relish, it would die soon and at my hands.

“Lucky for you, I am not one of Fajahromo’s slaves. It could have bought an imp with the magic it needed from me, but those imps are tied to the pious ones’ whose magic they siphon. And so, it went in search of a free imp whose loyalty it could hold exclusively.”

My gaze fixed on the imp when it stopped speaking. Its eyelids fell down, covering the empty eye-sockets on its face, and it breathed in a controlled manner.

The polluted emotions hit me like a boulder. I had forgotten this about Xavier, I had forgotten that the first time I saw it, it was its polluted emotions which had made it stand out to me. I suddenly remembered thinking how remarkable it was that this imp could remain sane when it had so much polluted anger and pain.

“How do you keep your sanity with the emotions you bear?” the question slipped out of my lips, and as soon as they did, the emotions went away, and I could no longer feel them. “Where did they go?” I asked.

“Pansophy.” It said. “The first lesson you learn in pansophy, is how to internally manipulate your lifeforces. The emotions are not gone, I am simply hiding them from you. If you were better with emotions, you would be able to force them out.”

It was only after it said the words that I realized it knew I had emotions, which meant it knew that I was kun. I frowned at the imp. “How did you know?”

“That you are kun?” it asked rhetorically. “There were many clues. The first is that you survived nine years in the pits when you entered as an untrained irira. The second is that you are the reason I’m here. You are my price. Fajahromo found out about my polluted anger and pain and it told me that it had a kun who could rid me of the emotions. I suspected you were the kun, but I did not know for sure until a few moments again, when I allowed my emotions come out and you felt them.”

“I am your price.” I said the words slowly, as their impact became clear. It was either Fajahromo had no intention of keeping its promise to this imp, in which case it did not know what I was. Or Fajahromo did plan to keep the promise, which meant that it had already known I was kun before the day we met again after I killed Maxad. So, when it asked me if I was kun, that day, it was testing me. When I lied and said I didn’t know, did I fail the test?

The imp nodded. “In exchange for ridding me of my polluted emotions, I granted Fajahromo the role of my patron for a year.” It stopped speaking and I waited. “But I am not bound to Fajahromo.” It said finally. “Are you?”

I shook my head.

The imp grinned. “Good. Then, will you give me your word to rid me of the polluted emotions, in exchange for releasing whomever you please from the cells in the pits?”

I did not hesitate. “I give you my word.”

“Good, then…”

“Nebud!” The loud voice called out from behind me, filling the hallway with its power and intensity. I recognized the voice, but I had never heard it bellowed as it was then.

I turned to find a pious one approaching me. It was the same pious one which had been talking with the Kaiser earlier on, the same one who’d led me to the hatch. I remembered this pious one saying it never wished to see me after the first time we’d met, and I couldn’t help getting a rush of pleasure at its wishes being denied. It had now seen me twice since then.

“Come.” The pious one ordered. “It is time.”

It took me a moment to realize what the pious one’s cryptic words meant, but as soon as I did, I turned around to seek out Xavier. The imp was gone.

Resignedly, I nodded to the pious one and followed behind it as it led me to the final task I would perform in the pits: killing Fajahromo.

“Irira.” The voice was soft. I stopped and looked downward in the direction I had heard it come from. I saw an imp’s face sticking out of the sludge ground. “I will find you when I am ready.” Xavier promised. Then it was gone, and I was left to follow the pious one.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 4:22pm On May 08
Is this update short? Or is it my hunger for more that drives my insatiability? undecided

Obehid you avoided my question, by Jove you must answer it. wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by popeshemoo(m): 8:10am On May 09
okay .. so.
there is this pink liquid we use in the office for washing ..

so anytime is see that liquid , I remember the okun, the sludge, I remember nebud, the spectral existence , I remember the narked series really...!
obehi... see what you've done to me !
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:32am On May 11
@Fazemood It's not short, lol, it's your hunger cheesy...what question was that again? grin

@popeshemoo lol! That is very flattering! I'm glad to see that this story has taken root wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:33am On May 11
Part 17
--------

I had been led back to the area of the pious one’s quarters where the plenum had met earlier in the day. An uspec stood in front of the middle curtains. The uspec was dressed similarly to the ones that had trailed behind the Kaisers in the plenum. It wore a small coat which was cut off at the shoulders, exposing its arms. Those arms had four golden bands on each one. The uspec also wore the cyan ring which I had seen on the Kaisers in the plenum.

Its head cocked to the side when we stopped in front of it. The uspec turned its head towards us. All its outer eyes where formed and filled. It was tall, taller than me by about an inch, but it had none of the bulk that I did. In that aspect it resembled the pious one that had brought me there. The uspec’s eyes glazed haughtily over me, before resting on the pious one. Its head was tipped upwards so that it gave the impression of looking down its long nose at us.

“Is this it?” the uspec asked drily, its tone bored.

“Yes, high one.” The pious one replied. Then it rushed forward to pull the curtains open and hold them apart for the uspec to walk through. I could tell from the title that the pious one had given to it, that this uspec was the custodian of a port. Only custodians were referred to as ‘high’. Custodians were of the line of dukes, uspecs who were raised to the position of ruler of a port, when no one of the line of Kaisers existed in that port.

I walked in after the pious one and was shocked when I found Fajahromo standing in the middle of the room. It stood almost in the same location as the Kaiser had earlier in the day, when I had knelt at its feet and confessed Fajahromo’s crimes. Fajahromo’s lips tilted up when it saw me. I knew from the smile it gave me, that it could not know that I meant to kill it. I imagined that it did not know I had failed its mission of killing a Kaiser in the plenum and had instead turned against it at said Kaiser’s behest.

Unlike the previous times when I had walked into a room and Fajahromo had instantly declared itself my friend and called out to me in greeting, this time it simply smiled at me for a moment before turning its attention to the Custodian. It bowed to the custodian, and the custodian nodded.

The pious one cleared its throat. “High one,” it began, “with your permission?” it asked. I frowned wondering what it asked permission for, but the custodian simply nodded imperiously, as if it already knew what the pious one meant. “This is the grand, Fajahromo, sovereign of the first burg in the second metropolis of Hakute, and first majestic in the line of the Dukes of the second metropolis of Hakute.”

After it said that, Fajahromo smiled slightly at the custodian and bowed again. “Salutations high one.” It greeted. “With your permission?”

Again, the pious one nodded. Now, Fajahromo turned to the pious one and nodded too.

“Grand one, you are before the high undead, Salin, custodian of Lahooni.”

“Salutations grand one.” Salin greeted.

And it wasn’t till that moment, as both uspecs stood there regarding themselves, that it occurred to me who Salin was, and why it was there. I remembered then that the Kaiser from the plenum had said it would send someone to divert Fajahromo’s spectra so that it couldn’t use the magic of its eyes to kill me before I could kill it. This uspec Salin, the custodian of Lahooni, had to be the one that the Kaiser sent.

I watched Fajahromo as it continued to peer at Salin, and as I watched it, I imagined what it must have thought of me when it gave the order to make me progenitor of an offspring it planned to have kill me. I wondered how insignificant it had assumed I was, and how callously it had planned to dispose of me. I also thought of the others, other iriras like myself who had trusted Fajahromo and had been led to their deaths. I was suddenly pulled back nine years before, to the room of iriras I had been led to. I remembered the uspec who’d been crying. I remembered the smell of the uspec who had died. According to Gerangi, Fajahromo had delivered some of those iriras to the pits.

Sudden visions of Fajahromo’s neck in my hands filled my head. I imagined it bleeding to death as I punched it repeatedly. I imagined the pain it would feel, and I gloried in it.

“It is not your friend. It will turn on you just as it turned on its own line. When you are no longer useful you will find yourself where I am, begging an enemy for death.”

I felt the familiar rush of fear from hearing Maxad’s words rise unbidden in my head, but this time, the fears were easy to allay. Maxad had been wrong about Fajahromo, so had Gerangi. They had all been wrong. Fajahromo was not nearly as cunning as they assumed it was. If it was, it would not be moments away from its grave and smiling oddly at Salin. If it was as cunning as they thought, it would be on its knees, begging me for the release of a quick death.

“I heard about the loss of your siblings. Please accept my condolences.” Salin spoke first.

I had to stop myself from laughing. Suddenly, I felt the urge to laugh hysterically. Condolences, I thought as the ghost of a smile teased my lips, condolences to the murderer? Fajahromo was the one who’d killed its siblings.

But Fajahromo had on such a convincing look of grief when it responded that I almost wondered if it had been lying when it had confessed to me that it was responsible for its siblings’ death.

“Gratitude high one.” Fajahromo replied.

Salin nodded impatiently, then its eyes turned to me. Those eyes were so cold when it looked at me that I almost felt as if I was in the wrong. “Well.” It snapped. “There’s no need to drag this on. Get to it.” It commanded, its voice rising as anger came alive in it. I was just about to quest out to the anger, when I felt it leave. It did not go away as quickly as Xavier’s emotions had when it hid them with pansophy. It went at a more natural pace, as if Salin had naturally exhausted its anger.

There was something troubling about the custodian’s attitude. I did not know what I expected, but I definitely did not expect it to snap at me. A voice in the back of my head cautioned me to go back. To forget the promise that I had made to the Kaiser in the plenum, and instead beg Fajahromo’s forgiveness for failing in the task it had asked me to perform. That voice was the voice of the seventeen-year-old weakling which had considered Fajahromo a friend. It was a voice which was given more credence by Maxad’s last words which were now repeating on a loop in my head, inducing fears that I had not felt in a long time.

But I ignored them both.

I nodded curtly at the custodian and walked towards Fajahromo. With each step I took towards it, its smile broadened. It looked confident, its eyes never filling with fear. It remained as it was, smiling as though it had nothing to be afraid of. I took a picture of the calm face in my head, and waited, with a perverse sort of anticipation, for the distortion which I knew would come over those tranquil features once I had my hands on it.

I stopped only a few steps away from Fajahromo and I smiled.

Fajahromo frowned then, taken aback by the smirk on my face, and the malicious glint I imagined would be in my eye. I wanted it to know fear, I wanted it to know that I would kill it.

Slowly, I rose my hand to my neck, and casually removed one of my larger scales. As my hand came down from my neck and I took another step towards Fajahromo, its eyes widened, and I was finally happy to see the fear I had dreamt of. It stumbled back.

Then it stretched out its hands towards me. I imagined it had tried to use spectra to stop me, but when that failed it pulled its hands back, and stared at them in shock. Then it stumbled backwards some more. Its lips parted as I continued to move towards it, stalking it, and delighting in each new fear it released.

Then it reached the walls and it was forced to a halt by the solid barrier behind it.

“Please my friend.” Its voice was soft, and shaky with fear as it begged. “Please.” It sounded breathless.

The murderous grin on my face widened. I was finally in front of it. I reached out for it with my hands, feeling even deeper gratification when I saw the moisture in its eyes. I could not imagine a more fulfilling kill as the one I was about to perform. Fajahromo’s fear was only heightening my anticipation. My heart was pounding now, excitement coursing through my body as I thought, finally, finally, the problem of Fajahromo would be over and my offspring and I would be free.

I almost had it, I was just a few inches away, when I heard Fajahromo laugh.

I froze in shock.

Fajahromo laughed. It laughed so hard that I knew that something was wrong. But I would not listen to the sane part of my head that told me I had lost. I would not listen to that voice of a weakling. I moved my wrist, preparing to flick with the scale at Fajahromo’s neck. But before I could, a red fog surrounded me. It seemed to appear out of nowhere. The fog was all around me, a barrier which stopped me from killing Fajahromo. I moved towards the fog, desperate to go through it if I had to, to get to Fajahromo.

As soon as I entered the fog, I felt as if I was being choked, as if life was being pulled from me. I moved back hastily, out of the fog. And I heard Fajahromo laughing. I watched through the translucent fog as Fajahromo dropped to its knees and it put its hands on its belly and laughed. It laughed for so long, letting out loud guffaws which eroded my thoughts, making it impossible for me to think of anything but the laughter.

The laughter was Fajahromo’s triumph and the red fog cage it had created around me, my failure. But then the laughter ended, and I could think again. Once my thoughts returned, I wished for the laughter, anything to make me forget how foolish I had been. I should have known it could not be so easy. I should have known that Fajahromo, the uspec who had killed its own siblings to gain power, would not be killed by a de trop irira from a nameless slum. I should have known that the uspec cunning enough to make me create my own vulnerability, would not be so easily undone.

Fajahromo sighed, the smile on its lips wider now than I had ever seen it before. “Gratitude Salin, my old friend, I appreciate the charade.”

I heard the custodian grunt behind me, but I was too ashamed to turn around and face it. “What about this one?” I turned then, my curiosity getting the best of me. I noticed that Salin was looking at the pious one.

The pious one gulped nervously. “But high one, it was the mighty one’s request. I was only obeying the Kaiser, I thought…”

“Kill it.” Fajahromo stated coldly. “It has played its part.”

Salin nodded. Suddenly, a fog like the one surrounding me surrounded the pious one. The fog moved inwards, filling it. The pious one convulsed once the fog permeated into it, white foam coming out of its mouth. Then the pious one dropped to the ground with a loud thud and I knew it was dead.

Salin turned its indifferent gaze to me and then back to Fajahromo. It smiled slightly when it looked at Fajahromo. “I trust that you will not let it survive. The mighty one must never know that I disobeyed it.”

“Of course.” Fajahromo stated.

Salin grunted again, and then it left, storming out of the room, and leaving me alone with Fajahromo.

The silence that followed was heavy.

Then Fajahromo chuckled. I turned to face it and the smile on its face was awful. It was the same smile it had had on after I’d killed Maxad. This was its true smile.

“I warned you my friend, I warned you not to oppose me.” Fajarhomo scolded. “I told you that the pits belonged to me. Did you really think that I would not know about your visits to that fool Gerangi? That I would not hear of the plans you made with it? How do you think you got access to that cell? You fool! I gave it to you! I was testing you and you failed. You chose to believe Gerangi over me. Over ME!” it shook its head at me. “It pains me that you have done this, truly it does.” And for a second its face distorted into a mask of pain so realistic that I almost believed it. But of course, when I quested out with my pain I found no pain in Fajahromo. This face was like all the others, just a façade, hiding the real monster within.

Fajahromo shook its head. “But that I could forgive you for. Truly I could. You are a fool, an illiterate who cannot even read. Of course, you became a pawn in the games of greater uspecs, of course you let Gerangi use you. That was to be expected. Even the lying, even pretending that you are not kun, that you do not have emotions, even that was to be expected.”

My eye widened in shock. It knew?

“Of course I knew you idiot. Only foolish, illiterate, commoners would see a de trop irira fighting and winning in the pits and not know that it is kun. As soon as the lie slipped from your lips, I forgave you. And even when Xavier told me of your trips to visit Gerangi and everything you said to it, I forgave you.” I gasped when I heard Xavier’s name. Fajahromo was right, I had been a fool. I had been a fool to trust an imp, I had been a fool to discuss all that I had with Gerangi so openly. But Fajahromo was too obsessed with speaking to catch my gasp of shock. “What I cannot and will not forgive is how you’ve set me back in the plenum. I gave you this task to redeem yourself, to prove to me that you were as worthy of my patronage as I believed you were. Instead what do I get? What do I get for my benevolence, for my mercy, what do I get? Years of work to ingratiate myself in the plenum thrown away, because one foolish irira could not hold its tongue. Now I will have to work even harder to regain the Kaisers’ trust. And I cannot forgive you for that.”

Its eyes all held my single central eye, and I almost cringed at the hatred I saw in its eyes. “We could have been great Nebud. I was going to build a port for iriras and I was going to make you duke. Why didn’t you just trust me? Why didn’t you come to me instead of letting Gerangi fill your head with nonsense? You thought you could trust it because it came to you when you were sick? I tried to come to you! I made my sibling Takabat vow to protect you! I did! Gerangi is not your friend, I am!” It sounded deranged as it screamed, but then it suddenly sobered. “It doesn’t matter now.” Fajahromo stated calmly. “Gerangi will die for what it’s done. Just like its foolish friend Maxad, I will have its feathers plucked out of its ailerons and have horns drilled into its head. Then I will send it into the pits where a great fighter will kill it. It will die tomorrow.”

“But it will not be so easy for you.” It promised. “You think you know pain because you have it. You think you know pain because you can find it in others and control it. But you do not know pain, my friend. I will teach it to you. I will reduce you to nothing, and then I will have you killed in the hatch. Perhaps the kun which is born from your corpse will be a more loyal friend to me.”

I heard the sorrow in its voice and in that moment, I feared that I may have misjudged it. Had Gerangi been lying? Had Fajahromo truly meant me no harm? I was so confused that when I saw the pink liquid of an okun forming underneath my feet, I took my attention to it, and away from the questions flooding my mind. I would never truly know who had been lying and who had been telling the truth. The okun pulled at me, there was something in the okun, a force like the one in the fog, which I had never felt before. That force drew at something within me and I suddenly found myself growing weak. It kept pulling and it took all my energy just to remain standing.

The fog which had surrounded me went away then, so did the okun.

I could hear Fajahromo’s voice in the background, giving instructions to someone else, then I watched it walk away. But I could not follow the conversation or the direction in which it had walked, because I was too weak. The okun, my old friend, had stolen something from me that I had not even known I had.

My vision was blurry, but I was able to make out an imp walking towards me. The imp was tall, but I was too fatigued to make out any distinct features on its face. It stopped in front of me and my gaze dropped to the ground. I saw the bottom fringe of its expensive coat just before I felt a light touch on my arm.

The last thought that crossed my mind before I lost consciousness was of the coat I’d seen. Only one imp wore a coat like that. It was Xavier.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 7:27pm On May 11
obehiD:
@Fazemood It's not short, lol, it's your hunger cheesy...what question was that again?grin
undecided embarassed wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 8:20pm On May 11
Fajahromo is indeed cunning, I don't blame Nebud for failing to read that earlier. He did what he thought was right and doing nothing out of worry of what Fajahromo could be playing at could lead to more damage than this one he is facing. I pity him.
Nice update dear Obehid.

I need to know how long we have before returning to Osazele and Nosa, I miss that duo alot. I miss osazele's magic. Can't wait to see you updating on those two or at least bringing the umani's world to this story. I need to understand the powers that these imps wield, and what they could do with it if they weren't enslaved.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 10:33am On May 13
Wow! Dis is getting confusing fa, who should nehbud trust now? Abeg wen r u bringing in d people of st luke
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by RealLordZeus(m): 9:26pm On May 14
:
spixytinxy:
Wow! Dis is getting confusing fa, who should nehbud trust now? Abeg wen r u bringing in d people of st luke
embarassed embarassed
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 1:03am On May 16
@Fazemood Thank you grin! So this book is focused on the uspecs. There will be an imp coming up that plays a big role, but it's mainly the story of uspecs. I don't know yet when I will return to the Reckoning. It's hard for me to work on two different stories at a time, and I want to finish this one, so, I won't be going back to Osezele them, until I'm done with this

@spixytinxy I know, that's the question Nebud is asking itself. Who can it trust? lol. So, the timing of this story is far before the timing of St. Luke's, so the St. Luke's students don't come in here at all. This story, i.e Nebud's memories which it is writing, are from before the mark came into the standard existence (AKA the world of humans)
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 1:04am On May 16
Part 18
--------

When I regained consciousness, I was in a dark room. I felt the tight grip of hard shackles on my wrists and ankles. My arms had been spread apart and were locked above my head, while my feet were locked below. I was standing on a sludge ground, and the familiarity of the stickiness against the sole of my feet and between my toes, brought me some degree of comfort. At least I knew from this sludge that I was somewhere in the fighters’ quarters.

A stream of pink light permeated through the fog door to my cell. It lit the cell for the first time, and I could see the empty space. A novice walked in through the fog first. As soon as the novice walked into the room, the fog cleared, leaving only an empty space. The previously pink light became white as it streamed in without the dying effect of the red fog which had previously blocked its path.

Two Unclad imps walked in after the novice. Both imps looked terrified. They kept casting scared looks at each other and also at the walls of the room. Fajahromo followed after them. It was dressed as it had been the last time I saw it, in nothing more than the top garment it wore to hide its chest spikes. It stopped a few steps in front of the door frame and put both of its hands on its waist. It eyed me slowly, its eyes roaming over my body, going from the hands bound over my head, to my face, then my stretched body, then finally to my feet. It smiled as its eyes rose back again and came to rest on my face.

“My friend.” It teased. “I have a surprise for you Nebud. I hear you have been asking to see it.” After saying that, Fajahromo stepped deeper into the room, and then moved slightly to its left. Its voice rose slightly as it said, “Come my ward.”

I knew what was happening before the young uspec walked into the room. I guessed from Fajahromo’s words that the uspec coming in was my offspring. My jaw clenched when I heard Fajahromo call it ‘ward’ and I felt a sharp pain in my chest. Anger began to burn in the pit of my belly. I quested out with my anger and my pain, desperate to steal the emotions from any of the occupants in the room and give it to Fajahromo. It didn’t work. None of the people in the room had any of the emotions I sought.

The young uspec came to full view in the room, and my heart broke when I saw it. It stood squarely on its own two feet, with none of the awkwardness it had shown when it had first been born. Its face was completely smooth, devoid of any outer eyes, and the rest of its body was unblemished as it had not yet grown the features of the spectrums it belonged to. I stared in awe at the young creature, my hungry eyes devouring my first real view of my offspring. And when my eye rose to meet its, I saw only strength staring back at me. My lips parted and I swayed towards it, desperate to explain, to say something to it.

Fajahromo walked towards my offspring and put its arm around its shoulder. “This, my friend, is my ward, Fajanux. It’s really a sad story what happened to it. You see, Fajanux was abandoned by its progenitor. Its progenitor was ashamed to have an irira as its offspring and so it cast it off, as unwanted, de trop. But I prevented Fajanux from being sent to a slum. I adopted it.”

My jaw clenched as I gritted my teeth against each other. The rage I felt was almost overpowering. How dare Fajahromo tell such a lie to my offspring? How dare it take my offspring from me and make it its own? I could not believe it. After Fajahromo said the words, I watched my offspring lean into Fajahromo’s side, and I envied the bond they shared. The sorrow I had felt the day my offspring had been born returned. And with that sorrow a new type of pain, and even more anger at the unfairness of it.

“My face was the first that Fajanux saw when it opened its eye in the hatch.” Fajahromo stated triumphantly.

That was when I realized the full extent of Fajahromo’s plan. Not only had it made sure that I would feel the bond to my offspring, it ensured that my offspring would bond with it instead of me. Now my offspring’s loyalty would be solely Fajahromo’s. I could already see that loyalty in my offspring’s eye when it gazed up at Fajahromo with adoration. Its head reached just above Fajahromo’s waist, and Fajahromo looked down and smiled lovingly at it. The entire scene made me sick.

“Do you remember what I asked of you?” Fajahromo’s voice was soft as it spoke to my offspring.

It nodded enthusiastically. “Yes pater, and I am ready.” I heard my own offspring call Fajahromo pater, the formal name a young uspec called its parent, and the sorrow, pain and anger I felt spiked.

Fajahromo nodded and patted my offspring on its head. Then it squeezed its shoulder before letting go of it and moving off to the side.

My offspring turned to face me, and for the first time since it had entered, I was the sole focus of its attention. I swayed in my chains, swinging towards it, in an attempt to communicate with it. I wanted to tell it that it could not trust Fajahromo, that I was its pater, not Fajahromo. That I had fought to bring it to this world, that it was I standing in the hatch watching its birth, and that I had not abandoned it, that it had been stolen from me. There was so much I wished to say, but before I could say any of it, I felt a deep sadness come into me and take hold of me. The sorrow was unlike that which I had felt earlier. It was twisted, and foul, and it reached into every part of me and made me question my own reasons for being alive.

The sorrow assured me that I was worthless. The sorrow drove me to the furthest edges of my mind and trapped me in dark corners where all I could feel was despondence. If the sorrow had been less, if it had allowed room for feeling, for thinking, I was sure I would have cried. I would have wept from the force of it. So engrossing was it that all I could feel was sadness. And in that sadness, a fear came alive in me. I began to fear that I would never be able to defeat Fajahromo.

Suddenly, my fear was heightened too. The fear that now possessed me was all encompassing. It was fear that made me shake, and made my teeth chatter noisily against each other. The fear told me that I would never defeat Fajahromo, the fear told me that the fate ahead of me was one that would leave me begging for death. The fear chased and within myself I ran.

The combination of the fear and sorrow was dizzying. I could only escape one to become engulfed by the other. I turned my eye to my offspring as I sought again to beg it, to tell it that I was its progenitor, its pater. But then it smiled a smile of triumph as it turned to Fajahromo. “It is done.” My offspring said.

Fajahromo nodded and clapped, and I suddenly realized what had happened. I realized then that my sorrow and fear had been polluted, by my own offspring. I knew that the fear and sorrow which I felt where not solely mine, but had been given to me by my offspring, like I had done to so many others in the arena. It had polluted my emotions and that was why I felt as I did. I realized that this was Fajahromo’s punishment, what it had promised to do to me. I saw the victorious smirk on Fajahromo’s face, and the answering smile of pride and satisfaction on my offspring’s, and the anger and pain which I had felt before rose violently in me.

Suddenly all the emotions were warring within me for precedence. I was a mess, the onslaught of emotions I felt threatened to drive me insane, but the anger and pain somehow kept me anchored. They reminded me who the enemy was, and they kept me conscious. I felt hollow, as another wave of polluted sorrow rolled through me.

Fajahromo gestured to the novice and the novice led my offspring away. I saw the way my offspring clung to Fajahromo’s hand as if it did not want to leave it, and the sorrow returned, but so did the pain. Those two dueled then. I felt a pain which I owned, one which told me not to give into the sorrow, but the sorrow was much more violent than the pain. When the sorrow rolled through me all I could do was give into the despair.

The novice left with my offspring and Fajahromo turned around to gloat. It faced me and it smiled as it gloried in my sufferings. And as it stood there enjoying my pains, I could do no more than survive the tidal wave of emotions flowing through me. I was starting to crave the anger and pain because when I felt them, the sorrow and fear were pushed back. I could still feel both emotions, but they were sent to the background and I could focus on how much I loathed Fajahromo.

I heard a voice speak in another tongue. I vaguely recognized the voice, but I could not place it, not with all the emotions coursing through me.

Fajahromo’s smile faded. It turned to the right just in time to see the two imps put down the light sources they had carried in, and run out of the room.

Fajahromo’s face grew into a mask of confusion. It walked towards the empty doorway which the imps had run out through, and poked its head out, moving it from left to right. Then it pulled its head back into the room and turned back to face me. The frown on its face remained, as it puzzled over the source of the voice and why that voice would send the imps running.

As Fajahromo’s gaze remained locked on me, I saw a hand rise out of the ground, by Fajahromo’s feet. The hand touched Fajahromo’s leg and Fajahromo collapsed onto the ground. Its head turned sharply to the left when it reached the ground and I could see all of its eyes were closed. The hand disappeared back into the ground.

Hair emerged from the ground, foreshadowing the emergence of the imp. I saw the expensive coat and the face which had now become familiar, and I knew it was Xavier. I stared confused from Fajahromo’s body lying on the ground, to the imp who I’d thought had tricked me into trusting it, but I was too exhausted to try to understand.

Xavier walked towards me and stopped in front of me. It placed its hands on the hard shackles which had locked my wrists, and the shackles disappeared. It bent and did the same to the shackles around my ankles and those two fell away.

I turned back and stared in shock at the wall behind me. There was no sign of the shackles that had once chained me. “How?” I asked, unable to say more than that.

Xavier stood. Its face turned to me and it said. “Pansophy. I took away its form.”

The words were even more confusing. “Why?”

“We made a deal.” It responded. Then it put its hand into the right pocket of its coat and pulled out a black fruit. “This is from one of the weeds that grow in the okun. Eat it. It will help restore some of your strength.”

I took the fruit warily from Xavier. I wasn’t sure if I could trust it. I felt another wave of fear rise in me, accompanied by sorrow, and I suddenly believed that escape was futile. What was the point when I couldn’t defeat Fajahromo? But then the anger pushed back, and my resolve strengthened. I put the black fruit in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. As soon as the fruit went past my throat, I felt a surge of energy in me. It was as if the strength the okun had stolen from me had returned. But with my increased strength came a heightening of the emotions I felt.

“We must hurry.” Xavier prompted. “We cannot be here when Fajahromo wakes.”

It was still alive? I shook my head and headed directly for Fajahromo. Even with my emotions battling I knew I had enough strength to kill it.

Xavier stopped me. “No.” it said. “I cannot allow you to kill it.”

I froze and the frown that came upon my face must have been ominous.

Xavier just shook its eyeless head. “I lied before when I said I wasn’t bound to it. I am, in some ways. I can release your friend as I said I would, but I cannot allow Fajahromo to die. You must decide which means more to you. If it is killing Fajahromo, then I will have to put you back in your shackles and return Fajahromo’s consciousness to it. If you would rather escape, then you must forget about Fajahromo and take this opportunity to leave. You cannot have both.”

It irritated me to be told by an imp what I could and could not have. But then this imp had returned to save me, to defy one it considered itself bound to, for me. Why? It wasn’t as if I was a great friend to imps. Why would this imp do so much for me? Still it irked me that the imp had the power to do as it had threatened if I tried to kill Fajahromo. But I turned to Xavier and nodded.

“Good.” Xavier smiled. “Let us go and release Gerangi then.” It said, leading the way out of the cell.

I grudgingly followed, casting one more look over my shoulder at Fajahromo lying unconscious on the sludge ground.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:59am On May 16
Not enough naw, which Kain small dish be this na fine woman �
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 11:35am On May 17
Abeg Saturday's update should be very very long ooo. Nice one dear
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:01am On May 18
@Fazemood lol the chapters come in different lengths. Hope this dish is more satisfying wink

@spixytinxy Thank you! I don't know if it's very very long, but it is longer smiley
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 2:01am On May 18
Part 19
---------

I followed Xavier to Gerangi’s cell and watched with mixed feelings at it pushed its hand into the fog. The fog cleared and Xavier stuck its head into the cell. “Gerangi.” It called out, its voice slightly raised but not so loud that it would attract unwanted attention.

Gerangi who had been lying on its bed, rolled around so that it was facing us. It took one look at Xavier and me, and it smiled. As Gerangi climbed off its bed, I remembered Fajahromo’s deranged screaming. I remembered doubting Gerangi. Even now I didn’t know who I could trust. I believed Fajahromo’s plan, that is, I believed that it wanted to make a port for iriras like me, and I understood that there was no place for Gerangi and pious ones like it in the port Fajahromo planned to make. Was that why Gerangi would lie to me? But Fajahromo’s motives couldn’t have been pure. If so, why would it have me birth an offspring and then have the offspring taken away from me, and raised as its ward? I wasn’t sure I believed Gerangi’s views on the subject anymore, I wasn’t sure that Fajahromo had wanted to have me and my offspring killed in the hatch to create a kun of four emotions. If that was Fajahromo’s plan, it would have said it when it had been yelling. Instead it said it would have me killed and create another kun like me, one of only anger and pain, which meant it had no intention of creating a kun of four from me and my offspring. So why had Gerangi lied? Or had Gerangi lied? Perhaps it had only said what it believed to be true.

A wave of fear and sorrow coursed through me, and I had to lean against the walls to keep myself from slumping desolately to the ground. I heard my teeth chatter as they drummed against each other forming a chaotic rhythm. Then the pain came over me and I remembered how it felt to see my own offspring calling Fajahromo pater. That forced the fear down and anger rose unbidden pushing the sorrow back.

Gerangi frowned at me. “What is wrong with you?” it asked, its voice sounding irritated.

I eyed Gerangi casually as I forced myself away from the wall. I noticed that it had a small brown sachet bag in its right hand. “Nothing.” I spat out through gritted teeth as another wave of sorrow filled me. I took a deep breath and waited for the anger to push back.

Gerangi turned to Xavier and lifted its eyebrow in question.

“Fajahromo had Fajanux pollute Nebud’s fear and sorrow. Now the only thing keeping it sane is its anger and pain.” Xavier summarized accurately. I clenched my jaw, ignoring the odd feeling I got when Gerangi’s eye rolled over me. For a second, I wondered if it would go back on its word and leave me there. It looked at me as if I had become a liability.

Then Gerangi sighed. “Just hold on to the anger and pain.” It said to me, then it turned to Xavier and nodded. “Let’s go.”

Gerangi led the way, and Xavier and I followed behind it.

We walked by a number of wardens who didn’t even give us a second glance. I would like to say that it was the sight of me that had these wardens choosing to ignore the troubling sight of a freed prisoner, a supposed warden, and an imp walking together. But it wasn’t. It was Xavier. They frowned when they saw Gerangi, and their expressions remained neutral when they glanced at me, but when the saw Xavier they looked away.

Xavier glanced furtively at me, checking up on me every so often. On some of those glances it would move closer and a part of its hand would brush against me for a moment. And in that touch, I felt nothing happen, nothing odd, or strange, but I could tell from the look on Xavier’s face that it was troubled.

We got to the wall of fog which led to the pious ones’ quarters and I saw the pain cloud Gerangi’s features. I quested out with my pain towards Gerangi’s and found the depths of pain it felt at being back again, standing in front of the quarters it had spent so much time in. Then fear rose in me, breaking the connection my pain had built with Gerangi’s. But when my pain tried to push back, I noticed that it was weaker. It was able to force the fear back, but only barely. I came to the conclusion that questing out with my pain to Gerangi’s had somehow weakened the reserves of pain which I had in me. I could not do that again if I wanted the pain to remain strong enough to help me keep my sanity.

Xavier touched the fog and it went away. We walked into the pious ones’ quarters. The imps positioned by the entrance gasped in shock. Then they saw Xavier with us, and they looked to it for instructions. Xavier said a few words in the foreign tongue which I could not understand, and the imps returned to their posts and made a studious effort of looking down at the buckets of pink liquid in front of them. Again, I was left with the impression that this imp Xavier was more than it said it was.

Gerangi made to move towards the large wall of fog that took up most of the wall space in this room. It was the only fog-door which I had never been allowed to pass through.

“No.” I called out, stopping it. “I want my offspring. I will not leave without it.”

Gerangi let out an angry sound. “Are you a fool? The offspring has already turned against you. Fajahromo used it to pollute your emotions. Your offspring would kill you the first chance it got if you took it away from the only place it calls home.”

I stared Gerangi in the eye as I made certain to pronounce each word clearly. “I will not leave without my offspring.”

“I will not take it with me.” Gerangi replied. “You may have a death wish, but I do not.”

I took a step towards Gerangi, and before I knew I was running towards it. Xavier appeared in front of me, blocking my path. It puts its hand on my chest and I felt a shocking amount of strength in its arms as it used force to hold me off.

“I will fetch your offspring.” Said Xavier.

I nodded and it left, pulled into the ground underneath it. I glared at Gerangi and all of my suspicions came back. What did I really know about Gerangi? Gerangi held my gaze for a few seconds and I saw anger and a bit of disdain in its gaze. I thought about how easy it would be to quest out with my anger for Gerangi’s, but then I thought better of it. I did not want to lose any of the strength in my anger. I had an offspring to think about, an offspring to stay sane for. Then Gerangi sighed and it shook its head.

“You are a fool.” It said, but its words were filled with pity. Then it turned away from me and stared at the large wall of opaque red fog.

Xavier remerged. It had its hand around my offspring, and it took all of my will power to keep from going to it and snatching it away from the imp.

The young had a sleepy look in its eye. It blinked languidly and then it closed its eye and rubbed its eyelid with the back of its hand. It yawned and then it looked at Xavier again.

“Where is my pater Xavi?” it asked. I heard the name that my offspring called the imp and I felt my anger rise to the front. From the relaxed way in which my offspring stood beside Xavier, and the nickname it had called it, I could tell that they knew each other. In the few days that my offspring had been alive, it had been befriended by Fajahromo, an uspec I detested, and Xavier, an imp I was beginning to distrust.

None of that mattered though. I just had to get the both of us out of the pits. Once we left, I would take my offspring and I would leave Gerangi and Xavier to their own devices.

Xavier smiled kindly at my offspring. “Trust me Jaja.” It said and again I felt anger at the obvious bond the two shared.

Xavier said something in the foreign tongue and one of the imps standing behind us responded in the same tongue. Xavier nodded, then it turned to us and said, “we should be fine, the pious ones have retired for the night.”

Gerangi exhaled in relief, but all I could think of was the way that my offspring clung to Xavier’s hand. Xavier put its free hand into the wall of opaque red fog and the fog fell away. Gerangi walked in first, followed by Xavier and my offspring and then I brought up the rear.

The room hidden behind the fog was round and large. Further down in the room, there was a circle of reclining beds, like the one I had seen in Fajahromo’s house. All of these beds were empty. There were also several small fog doors around different areas of the walls which surrounded the large room.

Gerangi led us to one of those doors.

Xavier put its hand into the fog and the fog dissipated. I turned to Gerangi and was somewhat surprised when it inclined its head towards the fog door in a gesture which I read as it telling me to precede it. I shrugged and walked into the room.

This was another portal room. Unlike the one in the fighters’ quarters, the quicksand in this room was not hard, only softening when a fighter needed to go to the arena. The quicksand remained a visibly soft ground in the middle of the room. I walked towards it and stopped, then I turned back.

It had been so brief I wasn’t sure I could trust my own eyes, but in the moment right when I turned around, I saw that Xavier had been separated from my offspring, and that Gerangi had been close to my offspring. Close enough that its hand had rested against my offspring’s back as if to push it forward into the room, but my offspring did not move. Instead Gerangi walked into the room and my offspring followed after it. Something troubled me about that touch, but I could not say exactly what it was. I knew it had to be a harmless exchange, an older uspec trying to direct a young, but I could not help feeling that there was something amiss.

After they walked in, all that happened was that my offspring stared at Gerangi. Gerangi did not return the look, its eye was instead fixed on the quicksand in the room. But my offspring would not look away. Then suddenly, it turned to face me, and I had to take a step back from the force of the hatred I saw in its eye. It lunged towards me, and it wasn’t till it knocked me down on my back that I realized that it had a small dagger in its hand.

It screamed out like a banshee as it straddled me, then it pushed down, bringing the sharp point of the dagger close to my face.

I rose my hand and tried to grab the dagger out of its little hands, but as I did that, I felt a new surge of fear flow into me. I stared up, shocked at my offspring as I felt it put more fear into me, even as it brought the dagger closer to my face.

“You will die irira!” it swore as it came even closer towards me. “You will die for what you’ve done!” it screeched.

Then I felt the tip of the dagger pressing against my neck and I knew that this young uspec could never love me. It would never feel the bond which I felt with it, it would never call me pater and look up at me the way it had at Fajahromo. I knew that Gerangi was right and that I had been a fool to care so deeply for one which could not return my feelings. But I was its progenitor and so I could not do anything to hurt it. The sorrow and fear rose in me and I suddenly felt alone. Sadness enveloped me and it became too much of a hassle to lift my hand to stop my own offspring from killing me. Whatever joy I had found in life was gone. I saw the hatred in my offspring’s gaze and decided that if it needed to kill me for it to be happy, then it could. I had no desire to fight it. I simply exhaled and waited for the deed to be done.

Xavier swore in a foreign tongue. It pushed the imp off me and placed its hand on my neck, above the slight wound which had formed from the prick of the sharp point of my offspring’s dagger. I was too desolate to pay much attention to Xavier. I lay still on the ground and turned instead to the uspec I had created, the one which existed because of me. I saw the uspec rise from the ground and begin to run towards me. Gerangi stepped in front of it. I knew I had been false to doubt Gerangi even as it stood there, trying desperately to stop my own offspring from killing me.

My offspring seemed enraged. It was so small, about half Gerangi’s height, but it poked out with its dagger towards Gerangi’s leg and Gerangi raised its leg to avoid the dagger. My offspring kept trying to attack Gerangi, but Gerangi would not budge and it would not step out of the way to let it attack me.

Then I saw Gerangi fall to its knees and howl out in pain. Then my offspring took its dagger towards Gerangi’s neck and Gerangi fought back. They both fought each other, pushing at their hands, one trying to hold onto the dagger, the other trying to wrest it. Then I heard a loud cry escape from my offspring’s lips. Gerangi moved back, and I saw the uspec’s dagger in its own neck.

My offspring fell to the ground and Gerangi crawled desperately towards it. I saw it pull out the dagger and place its hand over the wound on the young’s neck, but it could not stop the bleeding. My offspring’s face turned towards me, and it died with its eye staring into mine.

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Gerangi crawled towards me. “I am so sorry my friend.” It begged. Its hands were stained with blood, my offspring’s blood. “I did not mean to. It would not stop. I don’t know what happened, but it would not stop.”

Xavier knelt by my offspring and I watched it pull its eyelid down, closing its eye. Then it turned to Gerangi and it frowned. I could not tell why it frowned, and in that moment, I wished it had eyes so that I could see through them what it’s frown meant. Then a single tear dropped from its eyeless socket and I was made aware through its tear how much it really cared for my offspring. It was the first time in my life that I did not fault another creature for crying.

“We must go.” Xavier’s voice shook, and I realized, as it came towards me, that my feelings towards it had changed. Was it because I had seen how much it cared for my offspring? Or was it because it had saved me from Fajahromo’s wrath? I did not know.

It stopped in front of me and held out its hand. I put mine in its, as my offspring had, and was again shocked by its strength when it helped to pull me up. I looked at my offspring’s corpse on the ground and the sorrow I felt was overwhelming. I wanted to run to it, to hold it in my arms as I’d never had the opportunity to. But instead I allowed Xavier to lead me to the quicksand, knowing that the sorrow would lessen. It would have killed me, I knew that, it would have killed me if Gerangi hadn’t killed it, and so my anger would not let me go to it. But I was still its progenitor, I still felt grief for what had become of it. And I knew that the blame for all of this belonged to only one person.

Fajahromo.

But I was too weak and the polluted emotions in me too strong to allow me to do anything other than fear and grieve.

I walked into the portal with Xavier and found myself standing on a wooden surface, in a hue of natural red light. The clouds were out, covering the orange dots that illuminated the sky during the day, and I was outside. I was outside, in the open, for the first time in nine years, but the grief I felt gave me no room to enjoy it.

Gerangi appeared behind us.

“They could be following us.” It said, its voice shaky as it stared first at its bloodstained hands and then at me. I could see the apology in its eye and a part of me knew that there was nothing to forgive. Gerangi had killed my offspring to protect me. But there was another part of me that could never forgive Gerangi for killing my only offspring, no matter the circumstances. I would have gladly died if that was what it took for my offspring to live.

I looked away from Gerangi.

“Do not move!” A voice ordered. I turned around and found the novice that had delivered Fajahromo’s letter to me. “Do not move!” it said again.

Gerangi turned around and the novice stumbled backwards in shock. “Elder,” it called out the tittle with a breathy voice.

“Go back.” Gerangi said. “In the name of the founder I implore you.”

I saw the novice shake its head as I turned to Xavier. Its face was solemn, and turned away from the exchange going on between Gerangi and the novice. Instead its head was tilted up to the skies and it face was contorted with grief. In its pain, the tight control it placed on itself, was gone and so its polluted anger and pain were revealed.

I remembered then the deal I had made with this imp.

I knew the repercussions, and a part of me felt relieved really. I didn’t want the anger and pain to rival my sorrow anymore. I didn’t want an escape from the grief. I wanted to feel it, I wanted to feel the polluted emotions. In a convoluted away, I was starting to luxuriate in them. The emotions were the only things I had of my offspring, the only things that it had given me.

And so I quested out with my anger and my pain and took a hold of Xavier’s polluted emotions.

“No!” it screamed before I could yank them away. “The anger and pain are the only things keeping you sane. If you use them to yank my emotions, they will lose their intensity and be dominated by the sorrow and fear. I do not expect you to keep your oath now, not now Nebud.” It said. “I did not expect it when I saved you, I did it because you were going to take Fajanux to safety.” It swallowed with grief as it said my offspring’s name. “No, keep your sanity.”

“I gave you my word.” Was all I said, and then I yanked forcefully at the emotions and used my anger and pain to direct them to the novice that was still standing behind us, arguing with Gerangi. As soon as the polluted emotions entered the novice it let out a loud wail and then it fell to its knees on the ground and began to scratch at its scalp. It banged its head against the hard, wooden ground underneath us, and I knew it would not last long before the polluted emotions drove it to kill itself.

But I was too far gone to care.

As soon as I transferred the emotions, a heavy depression took hold of me. I slumped to the ground, and curled into myself, unable to move or speak. I simply stared out, unseeing, into the night. My teeth chattered from the fears that crept through me. I could not name a single fear, or a reason behind the fear, all I could do was feel it. The fear combined with the sorrow and the sadness engulfed me. There was no thought to moving, or ever leaving the position I had taken. No thoughts existed in my head at all. There was only overwhelming amounts of sorrow and fear.

2 Likes

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 11:15am On May 18
This dish really small... But no mind me I am just insatiable.... Thanks for this update @obehi
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by spixytinxy(f): 9:00pm On May 20
D book has gotten to d interesting part, cant seem to get enough of it. Pls make Wednesday post very long. Am so so scared for nehbud. Nice job @ obehid

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